In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Development and Validation of the Inclusive Supervision Inventory for Student Affairs
  • Matthew R. Shupp (bio), Amy B. Wilson (bio), and Carmen M. McCallum (bio)

Satisfaction of student affairs professionals and attrition from the field are longstanding concerns (Marshall, Moore-Gardner, Hughes, & Lowery, 2016; Silver & Jakeman, 2014). Supervision and the critical role of the supervisor are well documented (e.g., Cilente, Henning, Skinner, Kennedy, & Sloan, 2006; Shupp & Arminio, 2012; Tull, Hirt, & Saunders, 2009). Ineffective supervision has been linked to lack of support and trust, supervisees not feeling valued, lack of support for professional development, lack of transparency, and poor communication (Cilente et al., 2006; Marshall et al., 2016). Student affairs supervisors play an important role in setting the tone and creating inclusive work spaces where individuals are valued and diversity is embraced (Stock-Ward & Javorek, 2003). While multicultural competence has been examined among various groups of student affairs professionals (e.g., Mueller & Pope, 2003; Weigand, 2005; Wilson, 2013), the impact of supervisors’ multicultural competence on the supervisory relationship has not been thoroughly examined within the field of student affairs. Furthermore, no psychometrically sound or conceptually based instrument exists within the field of student affairs to evaluate supervisors’ multicultural supervision practices. Therefore, we sought to describe the development and validation efforts of the Inclusive Supervision Inventory for Student Affairs (ISISA).


Supervision in Student Affairs

Despite the recognition of supervision as a critical component of student affairs work, there are relatively few theoretical models or approaches (Cooper, Saunders, Howell, & Bates, 2001; Stock-Ward & Javorek, 2003). Synergistic supervision is one of the more prominent models within student affairs, characterized by joint-effort, two-way communication and a focus on competence and goals (Winston & Creamer, 1998). Several studies have affirmed the positive impact of synergistic supervision as an effective model of practice within student affairs (Arminio & Creamer, 2001; Shupp & Arminio, 2012). Stock-Ward and Javorek (2003) proposed a developmental model of supervision for student affairs based on a clinical psychology model, emphasizing the need for supervisors to build rapport and structure within the supervisory relationship. Despite its importance, a meta-analysis of 30 years’ worth of supervision literature within student affairs points to a lack of rigorous research methodology or a validated research instrument from which [End Page 122] to develop an empirically based model of supervision (Cooper et al., 2001).

Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs

Multicultural competence, defined as a tripartite model of multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills, was used as a construct of inquiry in this study based on its previous establishment as an essential competency for student affairs professionals (Pope, Reynolds, & Mueller, 2004). A strong and positive correlation has been recognized between the frequency of diversity conversations between supervisor and supervisee and the supervisees’ overall multicultural competence, as well as the frequency of feedback from supervisors regarding diversity initiatives or interactions and the supervisees’ multicultural competence (e.g., Mueller & Pope, 2003; Weigand, 2005; Wilson, 2013). Despite the extensive research on multicultural competence within student affairs, very little research has specifically examined what multiculturally competent supervision looks like in practice.

Multicultural Supervision

Within counseling, supervision research has demonstrated that a lack of interpersonal awareness and unintentional racism negatively affected the supervisory relationship (e.g., Fong & Lease, 1997; Lopez, 1997; Priest, 1994), whereas supervisors’ awareness of racial and cultural factors and provision of activities for multicultural development positively affected the supervisory relationship (e.g., Helms & Cook, 1999; Lawless, Gale, & Bacigalupe, 2001). The counseling and clinical research on multicultural supervision provide greater understanding of how effective supervision is informed through a multicultural lens but does not provide a conceptual model for practice.

In addition to these perspectives, we considered our own positionality as it relates to multicultural supervision strategies. Two of the three researchers are former mid- and senior-level student affairs professionals with almost 30 years of combined supervisory experience in the field. The third researcher is a faculty member with more than 15 years in academic affairs and student affairs and an interest in intergroup dialogue, which emphasizes the importance of multicultural competence in practice.


Qualitative Data Collection

The creation and validation of the Inclusive Supervision Inventory for Student Affairs (ISISA) are rooted in a mixed-methods...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 122-128
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.